Urgent Need for Humanitarian Corridor in Yemen

by The Editors | published April 20, 2015 - 10:07am

The humanitarian emergency in Yemen continues to worsen.

In Aden, the southern port city where local fighters are trying to fend off a Houthi takeover, several neighborhoods have no water or power. Hospitals are begging for basics like antibiotics and bandages. There is no sign of a pause in the combat, with the Houthis’ leader vowing not to back down. The Saudi-led bombardment of the country, which has closed all sea and airports, is into its twenty-sixth day.

In the northern highlands province of Sa‘ada from whence the Houthis came, an airstrike hit an Oxfam warehouse full of aid supplies. A spokeswoman for the charity called the strike “an absolute outrage” given that the Saudi-led coalition that is dropping the bombs has the coordinates of all Oxfam facilities. Oxfam’s work in the area is centered around the provision of clean water. Yemen is a severely water-stressed country.

The International Organization for Migration has been able to arrange evacuation by air for only a few hundred of the estimated 13,000 “third-country nationals” in Yemen. Some 79 percent of these people are Egyptian or Sudanese. Egypt and Sudan are two of the countries in the Saudi-led coalition. Others have fled Yemen by boat for the Horn of Africa.

But the biggest problem for foreigners seeking to leave the Yemeni war zone—not to speak of Yemenis—is that land crossings into Saudi Arabia or Oman are closed. It is urgent for the belligerents to cease fire so as to allow civilians to escape the fighting through a humanitarian corridor.

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